66 women abused daily

Experts in gender-based violence say financial dependency, and the vulnerability it creates, is the primary cause of the abuse of women.

18 March 2019 | Crime

Recent police analyses show that gender violence mainly takes place in the home, is driven primarily by a financial dependency syndrome, and usually takes place over weekends or at the end of the month.

This was revealed by Chief Inspector Catherine Walaula from the Gender-Based Violence Division of the Namibian police.

The figures are staggering. Between 1 January and 28 February this year, the police say that 438 cases of gender-based violence were reported while an additional 164 cases were attended to but no case was opened.

Walaula said emotional abuse topped the list at 208 incidents during this period, followed by 206 cases of physical abuse and 144 cases of economic abuse (using male financial privilege to coerce women).

“The most pervasive form of GBV is domestic violence perpetrated by an intimate partner and the vast majority of domestic violence survivors are women,” she said.

According to police statistics, more than 72 000 GBV cases were reported between 2016 and 2018, bringing the average to around 66 cases daily.

The police's statistical analysis shows that most of these cases take place inside the home and manifest as threats, assault, intimidation, verbal abuse and murder.



Payday violence

According to Walaula these cases are driven by the use of drugs and alcohol and are usually reported over weekends or on weekdays that coincide with the end of the month.





Other causes that lead to GBV include jealousy, poverty, power imbalances and financial dependency.

She added that reported rape cases are alarmingly high and most rape cases of children and adults occur in the home, or in bushes, riverbeds, isolated areas and school hostels.



According to her, children are most often raped when their mothers or guardians leave them in the care of others.

“The perpetrators that rape minors are commonly known. These rape incidents take place during the day and at night,” said Walaula.



Dependency

Gender Links country manger Fabian Sampaya spoke to Namibian Sun and said most women are vulnerable because they are financially dependent on their partners.

According to him, financial dependency is the main problem identified during rapid analyses performed in communities.

“So the weaker you are in terms of self-reliance, the more you become vulnerable to domestic violence. Most of the women are being abused because of their vulnerability. So, if women are empowered I think their male partners will start respecting them,” he said.

The data was shared during a media training workshop on GBV and gender equality hosted by the office of First Lady Monica Geingos.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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